In this study concentration techniques regularly used for viral detection, i.e. flat-bed ultrafiltration and Filterite cartridge filtration, were evaluated for their efficacies in the recovery of protozoan parasites from water. Recovery of cysts was studied using tap water seeded with Giardia muris cysts and compared to methods designed for the detection of protozoan parasites. Recovery of cysts utilizing 1.2µm membrane filters was 11.1% (4.5-23%) compared to 11.6% (2.7-25.5%) with ultrafiltration (pore size 46-50 Å, with a molecular cut off of 50 000 daltons). Comparison of these methods for the isolation of Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts from environmental water samples also indicated a similar efficacy. The recovery of cysts from 1001 of seeded samples using a Cuno wynd cartridge filter was 12.2% (1.6-46%) compared to 13.4% (5-24.2%) using a Filterite cartridge filter. Although the results indicated similar recovery efficacies for these two methods, use of Filterite resulted in a more consistent recovery rate. This study also indicated that the use of cartridge filters for the processing of large volume water samples (1001) showed a slightly better recovery efficacy than the flat-bed filtration technique which limits sample volume to about 101.
This study shows that concentration techniques utilised for the isolation of enteric viruses can also be applied for the detection of protozoan parasites from water. This procedure allows for co-analysis of both viruses and protozoan parasites and provides a more rapid and cost-effective evaluation of water quality.